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CBS’ Intelligence Is the Season’s Most-Watched Premiere

Less encouraging results for ABC’s Killer Women

Intelligence (CBS)

CBS could have a winner on its hands with its first midseason drama launch, while a solid performer in the Tuesday 10 p.m. slot continues to elude ABC.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, a special trial launch of CBS’ sci-fi action series Intelligence scared up 16.5 million viewers in the 9 p.m. slot leading out of NCIS, making it the most-watched premiere of the 2013-14 season. The Josh Holloway vehicle delivered a 2.4 in the adults 18-49 demo, retaining 80 percent of its generous lead-in.

Intelligence shifts to its regular Monday 10 p.m. time slot next week where it will square off against NBC’s new smash hit, The Blacklist. It’ll be an interesting showdown.

On the one hand, The Blacklist will be returning from a six-week hiatus without the benefit of having broadcast’s third highest-rated show, The Voice, as its lead-in. (NBC is airing American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. Japan from 8-10 p.m. on Jan. 13.) On the other hand, Intelligence will face a much steeper slope, given the head-to-head competition—through its first 10 episodes, the James Spader procedural is averaging 11.1 million viewers and a 3.1 in the dollar demo.

And while CBS’ Monday comedy block performs well enough, the 9-10 p.m. Mike & Molly-Mom combo aren’t likely to provide anywhere near the boost of the powerhouse franchise NCIS. If nothing else, Intelligence should fare much better than its time-slot predecessor, the disappointing limited series, Hostages. A wildly unlikely candidate for renewal, the 15-part serial averaged just 5.16 million viewers and a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49.

All things being equal, the older-skewing Intelligence isn’t likely to pose a serious challenge to The Blacklist among the 18-49 set—in fact, viewers under 50 accounted for just 18 percent of the premiere audience. Moreover, the show fared only slightly better in CBS’ target demo, adults 25-54. Per Nielsen, more than three-quarters of Intelligence viewers have aged out of the category. 

Less ambiguous were the results of ABC’s new crime drama, Killer Women, which bowed in the 10 p.m. slot to 3.96 million viewers and a paltry 0.9 rating. That marks a 31 percent decline from the 1.3 rating delivered on Sept. 24 by the short-lived Lucky 7. In a season of record low premieres, Killer Women’s performance marks the softest Tuesday night drama debut in ABC history.

Produced by Sofia Vergara, Killer Women stars Battlestar Galactica alum Tricia Helfer as Molly Parker, a Texas Ranger who hunts down the deadliest members of the XX-chromosome set. The limited series (ABC ordered eight episodes) has received scathing reviews, earning a 29 percent approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes site.

On a night when the Big Four returned from winter break with wall-to-wall new episodes, many of the night’s shows improved slightly from their most recent original deliveries. Posting a 3.0 in the demo, NCIS was up one-tenth of a ratings point versus its Dec. 17 outcome, as was ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2.2).

ABC’s The Goldbergs (1.7) was also up a tick, while Trophy Wife dropped a tenth to a 1.1. Fox’s 8 p.m. comedy, Dads, improved a tenth with a 1.5 rating; meanwhile, fellow newbie Brooklyn Nine-Nine dipped to a 1.5. The heart of the lineup, New Girl, fell the furthest, declining 16 percent to a series-low 1.6 rating. At 9:30 p.m., The Mindy Project improved two-tenths of a point to a 1.3 in the demo. Three of the Fox sitcoms had been on hiatus since Dec. 3, while New Girl’s most recent original episode aired on Nov. 26.

NBC’s The Biggest Loser dropped 15 percent to a 1.7 rating, while Chicago Fire was off by two-tenths of a point at 10 p.m. CBS’ Person of Interest was flat with a 2.0.

The next midseason premiere arrives tonight, as NBC takes the wraps off Dick Wolf’s sequel to Chicago Fire. While not running unopposed, the sudsy cop drama Chicago PD will make its debut against CBS’ coverage of the 40th Annual People’s Choice Awards—last year’s show averaged 9.27 million viewers and a 2.7 in the 18-49 demo—and a repeat of the ABC special, David Blaine: Real or Magic. Blaine’s showcase first aired on Nov. 19, drawing 7.81 million viewers and a 2.6 rating.

New episodes of CBS’ CSI and ABC’s Nashville return next Wednesday to square off against NBC’s rookie procedural.

Interestingly enough, NBC had been looking to draw Killer Women viewers to Chicago PD. Earlier this afternoon, the primary Google hit when entering the words ABC Killer Women (no quotation marks) in the search bar was a link to Chicago PD’s official website. (The link header read “Like Killer Women? - Watch Chicago PD on NBC - NBC.com.”) Those results stopped popping up shortly after 6 p.m. EST.

The workweek ends with the year’s fourth midseason premiere, as Fox bows its military comedy Enlisted Friday night at 9:30 p.m.   

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